Whether you’re planning to build or renovate, whether you live in an apartment or a house, Sustainable House is the essential guide to help you achieve an environmentally friendly home. It includes advice on converting your kitchen, bathroom, water supply, energy, waste system and garden, as well as tips for working with councils, builders and engineers, and the costs and benefits associated with making your home sustainable. First published in 1998, this long-awaited second edition covers the revolutions that have since occurred in sustainable housing, and, critically, includes the author’s assessment on technologies and materials used in his own ground-breaking Sustainable House 14 years after installation. Michael Mobbs tells you what pitfalls to look out for and how to choose the best systems, products and suppliers.
For the first time we can see what happens in a sustainable house after 14 years of use. Did the solar panels last? Is rainwater in the city safe to drink? How has the garden handled over one million litres of treated sewage?
Discover how you can build an amazing variety of structures using little more than the earth beneath your feet. Earthbag building is revolutionizing how people around the world are thinking about ways of providing shelter, both temporary and permanent. Such buildings can be remarkably durable and resistant to earthquakes, floods, fires and even bullets. Kelly Hart describes the basics of how to build this way, provides a history of the evolving technology and delves into detailed descriptions of the many different earthbag projects that he has been involved with over nearly two decades. A survey of 64 unique buildings from around the world proves just how versatile this approach to building can be. A look to the future of earthbag building and a Resource Guide complete the book. Some 240 color photographs help you visualize the possibilities of this unusual and sustainable approach to architecture.
Sustainable Home Design
Design your own sustainable home
Many people dream of building a beautiful, environmentally friendly home. But until now there has been no systematic guide to help potential builders work through the complete process of imagining, planning, designing, and building their ideal, sustainable home.
Essential Sustainable Home Design walks potential homebuilders through the process starting with key concepts, principles, and a project vision that will guide the house to completion.
- • How to clarify your ideas and create a practical pathway to achieving your dream
- • A criteria matrix to guide design, material, and systems decisions
- • Creating a strong, integrated design team and working with professionals and code officials to keep the project on track from start to finish.
- • Key building science concepts that make for a high-performance, durable building
- • Primer on building logistics, material sourcing, and protocols to ensure that the initial vision for the project comes to fruition.
- • One-page summaries and ratings of popular sustainable building materials and system options.
Ideal for owner-builders and sustainable building contractors working with clients aiming to design and build a sustainable home.
Chris Magwood has designed and built some of the most innovative, sustainable buildings in North America, including the first off-grid, straw bale home in Ontario. He is co-founder and director the Endeavour Centre for Innovative Building and Living and co-editor of the Sustainable Building Essentials series. Chris is the author of Essential Prefab Straw Bale Construction, Essential Hempcrete Construction, Straw Bale Details, More Straw Bale Building, and Making Better Buildings.
An earth-sheltered, earth-roofed home has the least impact upon the land of all housing styles, leaving almost zero footprint on the planet.
Earth-Sheltered Houses is a practical guide for those who want to build their own underground home at moderate cost. It describes the benefits of sheltering a home with earth, including the added comfort and energy efficiency from the moderating influence of the earth on the home’s temperature (keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer), along with the benefits of low maintenance and the protection against fire, sound, earthquake, and storm afforded by the earth. Extra benefits from adding an earth or other living roof option include greater longevity of the roof substrate, fine aesthetics, and environmental harmony.
The book covers all of the various construction techniques involved, including details on planning, excavation, footings, floor, walls, framing, roofing, waterproofing, insulation, and drainage. Specific methods appropriate for the inexperienced owner/builder are a particular focus and include:
- Pouring one’s own footings and/or floor
- The use of dry-stacked (surface-bonded) concrete block walls
- Post-and-beam framing
- Plank-and-beam roofing
- Drainage methods and self-adhesive waterproofing membranes
The time-tested, easy-to-learn construction techniques described in Earth-Sheltered Houses will enable readers to embark upon their own building projects with confidence, backed up by a comprehensive resources section that lists all the latest products such as waterproofing membranes, types of rigid insulation, and drainage products that will protect the building against water damage and heat loss.
Rob Roy is a former contractor with 27 years of experience and 12 previous books to his credit, including Cordwood Building and Timber Framing for the Rest of Us. An expert on underground building, he founded the Earthwood Building School in 1981 with his wife, Jaki, and is frequently a speaker at events throughout North America.
Hempcrete is a versatile, energy-efficient natural insulation material, useful for walls, roofs, and floors. Made from the inner stem of the hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder, it is a very strong, lightweight and breathable alternative to manufactured insulations. Essential Hempcrete Construction is a fully-illustrated practical guide to this affordable, renewable method, from procurement to finishing.
This indispensable manual is packed with all the information you need to determine whether hempcrete is the right choice for your project. It covers:
Material specifications, testing and building code references and climate data Detail drawings for design reference Tool lists, and complete step-by-step instructions for mixing and placing hempcrete Finishing and maintenance techniques Budgeting and labor estimates Additional resources
Essential Hempcrete Construction is part of New Society’s Sustainable Building Essentials Series. Written by the world’s leading sustainable builders, designers and engineers, these succinct, user-friendly handbooks are indispensable tools for any project where accurate and reliable information are key to success. Get the Essentials!
Chris Magwood is a sustainable builder and designer specializing in green and natural building techniques, the co-founder and co-director of the Endeavour Centre, and the author of several books on sustainable building including Making Better Buildings, More Straw Bale Building, and Straw Bale Details.
House Of Earth
Earth is the mother of all construction materials. For thousands of years, clay-soil has shown itself to be a versatile building material. Today people are rediscovering the advantages of earthen construction and for good reasons: it’s easy to work with, extremely affordable, environmentally friendly, durable and beautiful!
All you need to get started is basic equipment: buckets, shovels, and a wheelbarrow. This manual shares the most popular and time-tested techniques for building with
- Light straw-clay
- Earth bags
- Earthen plasters
- Earthen floors
- Clay paints
These techniques can be used to build entire houses as well as for smaller projects, such as backyard sheds, cabins, outdoor fireplaces, garden walls and play houses. As a bonus, the appendix has complete instruction on how to build an earthen bread- and pizza oven that makes for a great starter project!
Earthen building methods can also be used to renovate existing homes on a shoestring budget, transforming run-down houses into earthen homes, without having to work with toxic or environmentally harmful building materials. You will realize how simple it is so to integrate earthen materials with conventional building materials.
This comprehensive volume covers everything from identifying the right materials to how to build arches and niches and incorporate plumbing and electrics.
Building With Cob
The ancient method of cob building uses a simple mixture of clay sub-soil, aggregate, straw and water to create solid structural walls built without shuttering or forms, onto a stone plinth. It is now undergoing a renaissance as an ‘eco-friendly’ building material because of its amazing ‘green’ credentials. ‘Building with Cob’ shows how to apply this ancient technique in a wide variety of contemporary situations, covering everything from design and siting, mixing, building walls, fireplaces, ovens and floors, lime and other natural finishes, and gaining planning permission and building regulation approval. It also explains in detail how to sensitively restore an old cob structure. This book is a step-by-step guide, lavishly illustrated with over 300 colour photos and 85 diagrams.
The Hand-Sculpted House
Are you ready for the Cob Cottage? This is a building method so old and so simple that it has been all but forgotten in the rush to synthetics. A cob cottage,cobb, however, might be the ultimate expression of ecological design, a structure so attuned to its surroundings that its creators refer to it as “”an ecstatic house.””
The authors build a house the way others create a natural garden. They use the oldest, most available materials imaginable–earth, clay, sand, straw, and water–and blend them to redefine the future (and past) of building. Cob (the word comes from an Old English root, meaning “”lump””) is a mixture of non-toxic, recyclable, and often free materials. Building with cob requires no forms, no cement, and no machinery of any kind. Builders actually sculpt their structures by hand.
Building with earth is nothing new to America; the oldest structures on the continent were built with adobe bricks. Adobe, however, has been geographically limited to the Southwest. The limits of cob are defined only by the builder’s imagination.
Cob offers answers regarding our role in Nature, family and society, about why we feel the ways that we do, about what’s missing in our lives. Cob comes as a revelation, a key to a saner world.
Cob has been a traditional building process for millennia in Europe, even in rainy and windy climates like the British Isles, where many cob buildings still serve as family homes after hundreds of years. The technique is newly arrived to the Americas, and, as with so many social trends, the early adopters are in the Pacific Northwest.
Cob houses (or cottages, since they are always efficiently small by American construction standards) are not only compatible with their surroundings, they ARE their surroundings, literally rising up from the earth. They are full of light, energy-efficient, and cozy, with curved walls and built-in, whimsical touches. They are delightful. They are ecstatic.
The Cob Builders Handbook
Cob (an old English word for lump) is old-fashioned concrete, made out of a mixture of clay, sand, and straw. Becky Bee’s manual is a friendly guide to making your own earth structure, with chapters on design, foundations, floors, windows and doors, finishes, and of course, making glorious cob.
“I believe that building with cob is a way to recreate community and experience the joy of working together while taking back the right to build our own homes and look after our Mother Earth.”
She loves doing something that makes sense in a world where lots of things don’t.
Over 70 percent of people cannot afford to own a code-enforced, contractor-built home. This has led to widespread interest in using natural materials—straw, cob, and earth—for building homes and other buildings that are inexpensive, and that rely largely on labor rather than expensive and often environmentally-damaging outsourced materials.
Earthbag Building is the first comprehensive guide to all the tools, tricks, and techniques for building with bags filled with earth—or earthbags. Having been introduced to sandbag construction by the renowned Nader Khalili in 1993, the authors developed this “Flexible Form Rammed Earth Technique” over the last decade. A reliable method for constructing homes, outbuildings, garden walls and much more, this enduring, tree-free architecture can also be used to create arched and domed structures of great beauty—in any region, and at home, in developing countries, or in emergency relief work.
This profusely illustrated guide first discusses the many merits of earthbag construction, and then leads the reader through the key elements of an earthbag building: Special design considerations
Foundations, walls and floors
Electrical, plumbing and shelving
Lintels, windows and door installations
Roofs, arches and domes
Exterior and interior plasters.
With dedicated sections on costs, making your own specialized tools, and building code considerations, as well as a complete resources guide, Earthbag Building is the long-awaited, definitive guide to this uniquely pleasing construction style.
Kaki Hunter and Donald Kiffmeyer have been involved in the construction industry for the last 20 years, specializing in affordable, low-tech, low-impact building methods that are as natural as possible. They developed the “Flexible Form Rammed Earth Technique” of building affordably with earthbags and have taught the subject and contributed their expertise to several books and journals on natural building.
Off Grid and Underground
This book is a unique look into one of the most unusual building techniques – underground installation of shipping containers – finished out into a very modern, energy efficient home that has proven to be a delight to live in. Detailed how-to instructions from start to finish give the reader a real handle on how they could build this home for themselves successfully and enjoy the wonderful benefits of living underground and off the grid. A real must for those who are considering cutting the city ties and venturing out into the country to establish a successful homestead. Well worth a read!
Instead of marring a grassy knoll or field with the construction of a conventional house, you could design and build an environmentally sound underground or earth-sheltered home. Roy, director of the Earthwood Building School, provides detailed instructions, from choosing a piece of property to excavating and building a home from top to bottom, with case studies, photos and diagrams, and further resources.
The Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book
The Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book is the first to promote the benefits of both passive solar energy and earth sheltering in greenhouse design. This combination results in greenhouses which need no additional heating. The captured sun s energy and that which is stored in the earth is enough for successful year round harvest. Gone are costly heating bills. Gone is the squander of non-renewable energy resources. This is because above-ground greenhouses get natural heat at night from only one side, the floor. They lose heat from the other five sides. The properly designed earth-sheltered greenhouse is naturally warmed at night — and in the winter — from five sides and loses heat from only one. The ratio is exactly reversed. This book has it all. It takes you step by step through the construction of an inexpensive greenhouse which may be built with either newly purchased or salvaged building materials for pennies on the dollar. It explains the author s unique Post/Shoring/Polyethylene construction methods and design techniques which Countryside Magazine called Revolutionary… innovative and ingenious…a totally different concept. In its way it is both as simple and as amazingly ingenious as a paperclip. The book deals heavily with design so that you may custom build your own greenhouse perfect for your particular climate and needs. It tells you how to use gravity to warm your winter plants; how to effectively capture and store the sun s heat; how to make up for poor sunlight free of cost; how to automatically vent without power; how to choose the best glazing for your project; where to find free building materials; when to use heat tubes and when not to; how to use a root cellar in tandem with the greenhouse; where to use insulation with wonderful effect (and where to absolutely avoid it); how to deal with plant pests organically; what animals should be living in your greenhouse; and hundreds of more tips. The Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book has 230 pages with nearly 200 illustrations, photos, diagrams, lists, charts and drawings. It contains all the information you need to free you from the pesticide, herbicide, fungicide, waxed, and E-coli laden, genetically modified and irradiated supermarket produce.
The $50 & Up Underground House Book
Mike Oehler has created a visionary style of underground architecture that is unparalled to any before him in this timeless book. Mike has lived underground in his self made house for over twenty years. He is a brilliant man that lives a simple life in a very much confused world.